Should I make a will if I have a child? Taunton wills solicitor, Anya Hoyland, looks at an often neglected impact of parenthood.
Making a will enables us to ensure that our finances, assets and possessions are distributed in accordance with our wishes. But the benefits of a will don’t end there. A will can also be used to plan for the care of our children in the event of our death.
None of us like to think about death, but we don’t know what is around the corner. Parenthood brings with in the responsibility to think about our children’s wellbeing in the event that we, their parents, may not always be here to care for them.
It is a common misconception that your partner, parents or a close relative will automatically have custody of your children if you were to die prematurely. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.
If there isn’t anyone with ‘parental responsibility’ to assume custody, then a Judge can determine who should look after your child. This may not be the person you would have wanted to take on this role. There is even a risk that your child could be placed into foster care whilst decisions are being made.
In order to help prevent this situation from arising, you can make a will appointing a legal guardian who is able to look after your child in the event that you die.
Within your will, you can choose to appoint a ‘testamentary guardian’ for any of your children who are under the age of 18 at the time of your death. This selected guardian can care for your children where there is no surviving person with parental responsibility.
Your nominated testamentary guardian will be able to make decisions about the long-term care of your child, including decisions about their education, residence and religion. It is therefore important that you consider carefully who you wish to appoint into this role.
If you are wondering if you should make a will or require further guidance on the appointment of a legal guardian for your child then give Taunton wills solicitor Anya Hoyland a call on 01823 354545 or send us an email at [email protected]